The remaining passengers and crew of the aeroplane hijacked in Ecuador on Wednesday (18 January), arrived back in Quito the next day.
GV: Hijack plane on tarmac at Quito airport.
GV: Hijacked passengers crossing tarmac. (TWO SHOTS)
SV INTERIOR: Air hostess embraces relatives.
GV INTERIOR: Passengers collecting tickets for Guayaquil. (TWO SHOTS)
SV: Hijacked passengers celebrating.
Cuba was the destination of over 150 hijacked planes in the late 1960s and early 1970s but has recently tried to discourage hijackers by signing anti-hijacking treaties with various countries. The treaties are seen by political observers as being partly due to concern over air safety and also for diplomatic reasons, and provide for the extradition of hijackers.
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Background: The remaining passengers and crew of the aeroplane hijacked in Ecuador on Wednesday (18 January), arrived back in Quito the next day. The plane has been diverted to Cuba.
SYNOPSIS: The hostages were returned to the airport where they had begun their surprise journey. The aeroplane-a Caravelle belonging to the Ecuadorian airline SAETA-had been on an internal flight to the southern city of Guayaquil. Originally it had been carrying 60 passengers, but after refuelling at Guayaquil, the four hijackers on board released all women and children with the exception of two stewardesses. With the remaining 30 passengers still hostages, the aeroplane was ordered to fly to Panama-where it refuelled again-and onto Cuba.
Though clearly relieved to be home again, the passengers' ordeal had been light by recent standards. The hijackers surrendered to Cuban authorities on their arrival, and the hostages were released unharmed. On return to Quito, the passengers were questioned by airline officials before again flying to their destination, Guayaquil. Officials later reported that the motives and identity of the hijackers remained unknown. Ecuador and Cuba do not have a joint hijacking treaty.